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Science and Religion

Posted 11-03-2008 at 07:01 AM by Kael

So, a local church left their pamphlet/magazine on our porch the other day. I was bored and thumbed through it. I expected the usual stuff, the bible verses and explanations of the lessons we can take from them, the articles on things like 'How to show Christ-like love in every day life'. What I didn't expect was multiple articles attacking science in general, and evolution specifically. Those I deal with regularly who are religious are also learned, and I keep getting surprised by the depth of willful ignorance so many churches want (or need) their followers to sink to.

First off, the article arguing against evolution made several very glaring mistakes, one of which particularly irked me. The author cited the Laws of Thermodynamics, esp. the part about 'the universe tending toward disorder' [sic], as evidence against the ToE. There are multiple problems with this, but I'm going to rant about one in particular. This idea that entropy disproves evolution bespeaks phenomenal ignorance of both evolution and entropy. First, it pretends that the earth is a closed system, thus how could biological processes and organisms become more complex without a guiding force? The problem is, the earth is most certainly not a closed system. Sure, the earth and everything in it is losing energy to entropy. Obviously if the earth was floating in a void, things would become pretty bleak pretty soon for life here. Thing is, we have this huge source pouring energy onto the planet at many times the rate we lose it to entropy. You may have heard of it, it's called the sun. This gigantic source of energy is more than enough to provide the power for ever more complex biological processes. Entropy in no way prevents such processes from being, or becoming more complex, simply because this huge energy input to the system far outweighs losses to thermodynamic principles.

Moving on. I've never understood why one would think that a belief in god requires a denial of scientific evidence, or vice versa. If god is god, then all this is *his* doing. Thinking he would put such things here merely to see if we denied the evidence of our own senses (also from him) is purely nonsensical. Sort of akin to believing that a being who can create such wonders demands our constant worship, or else he'll punish us to an eternity of torment. Hmmm... :chin:

Really, an ordered universe is actually much less evidence for the existance of god than these people realize. An ordered universe, one with constant, immutable laws that can be understood and categorized could certainly have arrived where it is today on its own. Created on its own, perhaps or perhaps not, the birth of the universe is a little deeper than I'm prepared to blather about atm. But, however it came to be, such a universe would require no input whatsoever to develop from its creation to its current state. No guiding force is necessary, no god is required. It has become the fascinating and amazing place it is because it had to. Hydrogen is hydrogen, always following specific properties. It always turns to Helium when fused in the core of a star, and helium in turn fuses into bigger elements. This process is natural, arising from the properties of the particles involved, not from someone turning a 'universe wheel' to keep things rolling.

The only imaginable universe that would require a creator, guide, and god would be a chaotic universe. A universe in which laws are not immutable or constant, understandable or anything like it. A universe where hydrogen is not always hydrogen, where, when fused in a star, it doesn't always turn into helium, but sometimes directly into carbon, or into tin. Or where the periodic table doesn't even exist, cannot exist, because elements do whatever they want to do. The only explanation for such a universe would be god.

That is not the universe we live in, however.

More rambling on this later.
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